The Far Shadow Cascade for the landscape is using the DistanceField Shadow Distance to calculate how to fade out, so if you set the Far Shadow Distance to anything less than the distance field shadows you get a harsh cutoff line.
I’ve attached a sample project. Notice how the Far Shadow Distance is set to 25,000 and the distance field shadows are set to 100,000. As you zoom in and out of the scene, you can see a hard line where the Far Shadow Cascade is being cut off abruptly. It should be fading out up to that point.
If you change the Far Shadow Distance to 100,000 it will fade out with the distance field shadows. If you play with the Far Shadow Distance, you can see how it will match the level of fade the distance field shadows display. So the only way to use the Far Cascades right now seems to be to set it to the exact same length as the Distance Field Shadows. This isn’t a good solution, since the Far Cascades have a much higher cost that the distance field shadows, and I’d like to set them as low as possible to make an impact on the closer areas of the landscape while keeping the Distance Field shadows at max distance to keep the trees shaded nicely.
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I did try that, but the person I was talking to just sent me this email after I made both a sample project and a video of the bug happening per his request:
I did receive the project and video. After further tests and review of the video I am not seeing any issues with the far shadow cascade. If you have any other questions related to this issue please let me know.
After that he won’t respond to my emails.
I don’t really know what else to do. Is there a way you could help me get this in front of someone who will understand what I’m talking about? I feel like I’m being gaslighted and I’m kind of frustrated with the whole process. It should be pretty simple to fix, but it never will be if it doesn’t even show up on the developer’s radar.
I apologize for any misunderstanding here.
I have put in a bug report for this here: Unreal Engine Issues and Bug Tracker (UE-71574)
It is possible however that this is expected behavior and that the tooltips for these settings do not do a good job of explaining that.
Thank you for that. You may be right, since you can set up shadow cascades separately, but I would really like to use just the distance field shadows since they’re so low cost. The landscape doesn’t work with the distance field shadows, though, so the far cascade is necessary to make sure the ground is casting shadows. From my experiments, you can get away with setting the far cascade pretty low, though, so you can get a lot of render time back that way with very little impact on the visuals as long as the trees are still shaded.
Anyway, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s an easy fix.
EDIT: I noticed if you reverse the situation and set the distance field shadows lower than the far cascade, the distance field shadows will get cut off as well, so they just have to be exactly the same length to fade correctly.